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Home > Life Stories > The Knowledge Entrepreneur - Finland - 1

The Knowledge Entrepreneur - Finland - 1

Mrs P is running a one woman consultancy in western Finland. She is in her early thirties and was born in the Netherlands Antilles. Mrs. P’s company is offering consultations on intercultural communication, presentation skills and team building. The company has now been working for three years.

After matriculation Mrs P studied intercultural communication in the Netherlands, where she graduated in 2004. She has a Finnish husband. They first met during her student exchange year in Spain. First they moved together to the Netherlands Antilles but her boyfriend was not able to get a job there. In 2005 they moved to Finland. Mrs P then found she had problems finding a job. This was mostly due to the fact that she could not speak any Finnish. So she took a three month language course which helped her to get a position as a trainee in a local school. This was a very important step in her integration process. That way she came to know many people and was able to start to build her network. Little by little she got new jobs. Recently she has worked mostly as a lecturer with several fixed term contracts at the University of Applied Sciences near her home town.

Mrs P started to plan for a business of her own couple of years ago. She joined a business start-up course for foreigners, where she got help in designing her business idea. She also got a mentor, which in her opinion was highly significant in encouraging her in entrepreneurship and who helped her in further developing and testing her business plan. When the business plan was ready she rented an office, applied for startup grant from the employment office and got it. The grant guaranteed her the minimum income during the business’s start up period. In practice, the money went to the renting costs of the office.

During last three years Mrs P has been gradually building up a clientele. Her business does not guarantee her full time employment yet, hence she has kept her position as a lecturer as well. But the clientele is steadily growing. Mrs P thinks that it is mostly due to her activity in networking. She finds it important to be active, to talk with people, to promote her business in every occasion, and to seek social contacts outside work life; – as she pointed out, ‘you can never know which contacts will turn up to be valuable in a long run’. In order to get clients from larger companies, it is important to know someone inside. She finds Finnish people have a cautious attitude, so building up trust is important part of the process. That’s why she has used all opportunities to get new acquaintances.  

Education and Culture Lifelong Learning Programme
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